Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our new(ish) toy

For a long time, we've been trying to figure out a good solution for storing all of our digital media. To simplify things, and for organization purposes we have been using one of our computers for most everything, and then those folders were accessible from other computers via the wireless home network. The problems with this set-up were these: the main computer is a desktop, so if we want to look at pictures or video, we would need to have two computers powered on, also, with the addition of an HD video camera, the 250GB drive would be filling up rather quickly. So, I began to research our options.

I decided that it was time for us to get a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. You see, the problem for me with a USB external hard drive is that it can only be connected to one computer, and if you want to access the drive from another computer, then you either have to move the USB hard drive, or turn on the other computer. As I did my research, I settled upon the Linksys NAS 200 device (pictured below).

There are many options out there, but this seemed to be the most versatile and cost effective way for me to up our home storage capacity. Some may argue that this is not a 'true' NAS device, but it suits our purposes well. For those who have a Linksys router, this box is the same dimensions as the WRT54G (what we have, although now I am strongly considering an 'N' network...), so they are stackable. The way this guy works is that it hooks up to your router via ethernet connection (RJ-45), and then you can access the hard drives from your home network (note - be sure to have good network security...check). As far as capacity? The sky is the limit! There is actually no built in capacity, you add your own hard drives. There is room for 2 regular EIDE hard drives, and two USB external hard drives (more with a USB hub). Currently, we only are using one of the two slots, and are using a new Western Digital 1 TB hard drive (yes, you read it right, Terabyte).

So, for the past few days/weeks we've been transferring things over to the new drive. We've had it for a few weeks now, but I've been so busy with school that I still haven't gotten everything transferred to it, or the configurations just right, but so far, I am very pleased with the new toy.


Peter said...

Interesting. We've been talking about getting a network drive after our last hard drive crash. I'm pretty sure we have it all backed up, but it's scattered piecemeal around the other computers and USB drives. I'm most concerned about family photos, but it would be nice to have audio and video on the network too.

Glad you like yours; I'll give the NAS 200 a look. With 1TB drives going for around $80 on sale, that would allow for a lot of storage fast.

Alan said...

Nice! I've been thinking about one of these, both for ease of access, but also it's convenient for backup, to just pick up and know, for hurricanes, and whatever equivalent you might have up in Michigan.

Curt Hostetler said...

Peter - The price is why I went with this over a true NAS/home server. After all is said and done, we're in less than $200, and still have room for another drive. You can even set it up for a RAID configuration if you start with 2 drives if you're worried about losing a drive.

Alan - that was a consideration too. Just one easy thing to grab if we're in a hurry. Also, if our house was ever broken into, this isn't located near any of the computers, so would likely be overlooked. I wouldn't ever really miss a computer if it were stolen, just the files.

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